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Why the Cross? (Part 1)

September 21, 2010

Why The Cross? – Part 1

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to go to the cross? Or what the cross has to do with your life today? How can a 2,000 year old event possibly be relevant to us?

It’s rather complicated, yet clearly simple.

Man was created to live with God forever but he disobeyed God’s simple command to abstain from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam’s sin placed all of mankind under the curse of sin and left us all in need of a Savior. The cross was God’s preordained response to our need for redemption. That’s why Jesus came…to reestablish our relationship with God that had been broken because of sin.

That’s the short version. But Scripture Dig doesn’t exist to sum things up. The passion of our heart is to thoroughly convey the truths of God’s Word as we all seek to grow and know Him more (at least to the extent our small space in cyberspace will allow in a blog). So, we’re going to take a walk through Scripture to get a thorough understanding of the plan and purpose of the cross.

It all began in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived the dream life. They had everything they could possibly need, Beautiful rivers flowing through jewel laden lands; food for the taking and the presence of the Living God. Certainly, beyond anything we could ever imagine.

But there was one stipulation – God told them they could eat from any tree in all the land, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His warning was clear. “…for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:17)

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the enemy of our souls came dressed in snake’s skin with destruction on his heart and lies on his lips. Eve succumbed to the enemy and Adam succumbed to Eve. And that was the beginning of the end.

The forbidden fruit brought an awareness of their own nakedness. They quickly clothed themselves with fig leaves and tried to hide themselves from God. “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” Gen 3:9

The Lord knew where they were and what they had done, but it was confession time for the not-so-dynamic duo. The fig leaves may have covered their nakedness, but their sin and their shame remained.

After a couple of attempts to pass the buck, they knew they had to face the consequences. It was immediate death. Not physically, but spiritually. They were given the knowledge of good and evil and found themselves on the wrong side of the track.

With Adam and Eve standing there wearing nothing but their sin, shame and a couple of fig leaves, the Lord came to their rescue and clothed them in a coat made from animal skin. Since the skin of an animal is not available unless blood has been shed and death has occurred, it was obvious what had taken place. The animal’s life was sacrificed to cover the culpable couple’s sin and shame.

Genesis 3:21 says, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”

In what was the first animal sacrifice, we find a picture of things to come. Before the sacrificial law was ever established, Abel, Noah and Abraham offered sacrifices to the Lord as an act of worship. But the system of sacrifices wasn’t officially instituted until Moses passed through the Red Sea and set God’s people free.

In Exodus 28 we find Aaron ordained by God as the first high priest – the one responsible for carrying out acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. In Exodus 28 & 29, we encounter variety of offerings ordained by God, but in Leviticus 1 – 7 we find a more detailed description of Israel’s sacrificial system.

There was one sacrifice described in Leviticus 16 that was held once a year to “take away sin.” It was the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – the Jewish High Day. During that holy day the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies where he offered a blemish-free bull before the Lord. He then sprinkled it’s blood on the Mercy Seat. Two goats were then offered. One as a sacrifice, the other as a scape goat. A bloody picture of the need for our sin to be cleansed and carried away.

All because of sin!

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:22 that,according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

Although space limits our ability to thoroughly cover the concept of the sacrificial system, today we we able to lay the Old Testament foundation for the cross. Tomorrow, we will move into the New Testament and discover why the cross was not only important, but necessary.

Do you struggle with understanding the purpose and the plan of the cross? Did anything in this post help you understand or appreciate why Jesus went the cross?



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17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 7:59 am

    Stephanie, thank you for your comprehensive look at the need for the cross. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” The cross was God’s plan from before the beginning of time. And praise God He ordained a plan of forgiveness for me!

    • September 21, 2010 10:18 am

      Kathy ~ Oh how I wish we could do more digging for such an deep topic, but I pray Scripture Dig readers will see how great a sacrifice was made for us and how great our God is!

  2. September 21, 2010 8:49 am

    I think that understanding that need to have blood shed, because of what began in the garden, is so helpful. The picture of how God had Israel deal with sin helps pave the way for understanding why the cross was necessary. So well explained, Stephanie, and looking forward to tomorrow.

    • September 21, 2010 10:22 am

      Julie ~ I think we could spend the rest of year on this subject and just begin to uncover the greatness the magnitude of its meaning. How great the Father’s love for us that we should be called the children of God! What a wonderful Savior – what a glorious God!

  3. Becky Rhodes Smith permalink
    September 21, 2010 9:03 am

    God loves us so much. Thank you for sharing/presenting His plan of redeeming love in such a clear & understandable format. All about the blood. Thank you Jesus.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 21, 2010 5:46 pm

      Becky ~ You now have me singing “Nothing But the Blood” and thinking about how grateful I am that He has lavished His love on us! You are so right – it’s all about the blood!

      So glad you’re digging with us! 🙂 PRAISE HIS GLORIOUS NAME!!

  4. September 21, 2010 9:25 am

    I never connected God covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness with animal skins as the first sacrifice…but it makes so much sense! Thanks for digging deeper…

    Living for Him, Joan

    • September 21, 2010 10:24 am

      Joan ~ Don’t you just love how God reveals Himself, His plan and His purpose in His Word. He has made Himself known to us in ways we have yet to discover!

      So glad you’re digging with us!

  5. Steve Whitcomb permalink
    September 21, 2010 6:07 pm

    Good job Stephanie. I enjoyed reading and reflecting on this important subject.

  6. stephanieshott permalink
    September 21, 2010 6:14 pm

    Steve ~ Thanks for popping in! I’d like to introduce you to all the SD writers and readers. Ladies – Steve is the Associate Pastor at Promise Land Baptist Church. He is a man of God who loves the Lord and loves God’s Word! He is one of the most biblically knowledgeable people I know and I am honored that he has made his way to Scripture Dig. (He actually used one of Kathy Howard’s post as information for a new members class he was teaching a few months back!)

    Glad you dig digging in the Word of the Living God! 🙂

  7. September 21, 2010 10:46 pm

    Stephanie:
    Thank you so much for this clear explaination of the fall and need for the cross.
    I love scripture dig because all of the writers express themselves so clearly. I always leave encouraged and knowing more than when I arrived.

    Thanks!
    ~Blessings~
    Marita

  8. stephanieshott permalink
    September 21, 2010 11:09 pm

    Marita ~ I’m so glad you have become such an integral part of our dig together! Your sweet words made my heart smile big time! There’s something so special about God’s girls growing in God’s Word together and I always look forward to your input!

    Blessings, sweet sister!

  9. Sharon O permalink
    September 22, 2010 5:53 pm

    I love the picture, it is gentle. Is it yours copyrighted or can I borrow it for my blog?

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 22, 2010 7:18 pm

      Hi Sharon ~ I got it from Photobucket. I’m not sure if all of the pictures on the site are without a copy write, but I use the ones that are. You can go to photobucket.com and set up an account and look through their pics. I like that one too.

      I’d love for you to share your blog address with me so I can go check it out! And, thanks for diggin’ with us. 🙂

      • Sharon O permalink
        September 23, 2010 5:03 pm

        I would need an email address for you to get into it. There are 56 readers so far and it has been a great encouragement this year. Would love feedback from you …if you can send your email address to faithiesgramma@msn.com I will invite you to my blog.

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